Medicinal Plant - Aconitum ferox

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Introduction of Medicinal Plant

Aconitum ferox
Vatsanabha is an erect herb that grows to around 7 feet tall. The bluish purple flowers of this plant are helmet -like and have a short, sharp beak. The flowers grow in spirals on a long receptacle. Vatsanabha grows in the high alpine areas of the Himalayas at an altitude of between 10,000 and 16,000 feet. Although used extensively in Ayurvedic medicine, this plant is extremely poisonous, with 1/10 of a grain of the dried root of this plant being toxic to a goat. Aside from medicinal uses, this plant was used for arrow poison in the past.

Synonym: Aconitum virosum Don., A. napellus var. rigidum Hook, f & T.

English names: Wolf's bane, Indian aconite.

Sanskrit names: Vatsanabha, Visa.

Vernacular names: Hindi: Bish, Mahoor; Gujrati and March: Vachang; Kas: Mohra; Tamil: Vasnumbi; Telugu: Vasnabhi.

Trade name: Bish.

Traditional use:
Root: used in the mrityunjaya rasa (used to treat the fever supposed to be caused by deranged vayu, i.e., wind, sannipatika jvara, i.e., remittent fever, hingulesware-rasa, anandabhairav agnitundi vati, etc.

Vatsanabha has been used in medicine from a very remote period. It is regarded as healing and stimulant. It is used in a great variety of affections, but is specially recommended in fever, cephalagia, affections of throat, dyspepsia and rheumatism.
HOMOEOPATHY: remedy for clotting of blood in heart or in lungs, pneumonia, Iymptisis, pleurisy, eye trouble, earache, toothache and urinary trouble.

Modern use:
Extremely poisonous; used in leprosy, fever, cholera, nasal catarrah, tonsillitis, sore throat, gastric disorders, debility, etc., also used as a sedative and diaphoretic; applied in the form of paste in cases of neuralgia and rheumatism.

Phytography :
Perennial erect herb growing up to 2 m in height; roots look like the navel of children; leaves alternate, simple, rounded or oval, may be palmately 5-lobed; flowers borne on branched racemes, bracts and bracteoles present, large helmet-type, helmet vaulted with short sharp beak, pale dirty blue in colour, zygomorphic, floral parts arranged spirally on an elongated receptacle; follicles erect, usually densely villose-sometimes glabrous.

Phenology: Flowering and Fruiting: July-November.

Distribution :
Alpine Himalaya including Nepal; endemic.

Ecology and cultivation:
Temperate to alpine regions of the Himalaya in the altitude of 3300-5000 m.

Chemical contents:
Root: pseudoaconitine (a toxic alkaloid), indactonitine, chasmaconitine, bikhaconitine.

Indian aconite root is known as 'bikh' or 'bish', the name which is applied to aconite from more than one species, and different authors have ascribed it to different species.

Remarks: Vulnerable due to excessive collection for medicinal uses. Collection in wild state should be banned and measures for cultivation should be initiated.

Compiled by Harsh Saxena

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